It was nearly eight years ago that Mexican born pianist-composer Mark Aanderud joined forces with Argentinian drummer Hernan Hecht. Their chemistry was immediate and natural.
“The first things we did were all related to free music, with electronic elements or not, but always with the idea of creating songs or forms in the moment,” says Aanderud in a news release. “We do have some incredible magic going on, inasmuch as we can play concerts or record without ever speaking of music, and never repeating ideas or stifling development. This actually hasn’t changed over the years.”
From their initial encounter, the two kindred spirits progressed to the formation of Mole (pronounced Mo-Lay), an exhilarating quartet that is breaking new ground in its approach to contemporary jazz with their auspicious RareNoiseRecords debut, What’s The Meaning?.
“I think this project is an inevitable spot in my career,” says Hecht, who is also a member of the RareNoiseRecords band Brainkiller. “It is our version of contemporary jazz, the sum of all the things we’ve heard and experienced in our lives related to jazz and everything else we have acquired; sounds of other music, other arts, the sense of song. It’s a freedom of expression, not determined by traditional jazz or directly from any line of traditional language learning. I am interested in music that is broad, not determined by a style.”
Though both Aanderud and Hecht would cringe at the prospect of being labeled a fusion band, Moledoes indeed fuse a variety of music styles, from jazz and rock to classical, funk and hip-hop.
“I don’t really like the fusion concept, but of course with all the groove and electronic elements in our music it’s natural to think it sounds like fusion a little bit,” says Aanderud. “But I see us more in the same line as groups like Phronesis, e.s.t. and Kurt Rosenwinkel and in terms of electronic music, groups like Sigur Rós, Massive Attack and Radiohead.”
After a few years of exploring their chemistry together, Aanderud and Hecht began inviting other musicians into their inner circle to see how it affected their music.
“We always considered the possibility of working with more people to achieve different characters, sounds and experience new artistic possibilities,” says Hecht. “So I instigated tours and recordings with Tim Berne, Rick Parker, Eli Degibri, Jonathan Kreisberg, Marco Renteria, Aaron Cruz and many more musicians, always with the desire of novelty.”
For their super-charged What’s the Meaning?, Aanderud and Hecht recruited New York guitarist David Gilmore, whose impressive list of credits includes tours and recordings with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Trilok Gurtu, Don Byron and Steve Coleman’s Five Elements.
“When we decided to tour with someone else from New York, to have new sounds and pressure to work with someone already recognized internationally, someone from which to learn with a shared philosophy and professionalism, we automatically thought of David Gilmore,” says Hecht.
Adds Aanderud, “There is probably no other guitarist as diverse in groove, time and the free approach as him. So it was easy to know he was the one we were looking for.”
Rounding out the quartet is Mexican upright bassist Jorge “Luri” Molina, whom Aanderud met years ago in their native country.
“I’ve known Luri since I started playing jazz music,” says the keyboardist who is currently based in Prague. “We were still kids and we were starting to dig this music. He was a very straight-ahead player but he became one of the most charismatic and strong rhythm players I know, and an incredible musician who just understands any musical situation.”